Alberta, the nations oil and gas epicenter, has turned to the wind, leading Canada in new wind farm capacity last year and now, in 2022, wind farm investment reach billions of dollars as the private sector adopts larger and more advanced turbines. .
The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) attributes the province’s rapid growth in renewable energy (solar and wind) to the deregulated energy market that has made Alberta the home of the wind energy sectors. and fastest growing solar in Canada. Between 2019 and 2021, the market-based approach to renewable energy has led to more than 1,600 MW of contracted capacity by companies and more than $3 billion in investment in Alberta.
“2021 has been a positive year for our industries, with 677MW of new wind power and 288MW of new utility-scale solar commissioned,” said Robert Hornung, President and CEO of CanREA, speaking of growth. at national scale. But it was Alberta that accounted for more than 60% of new Canadian capacity installed in 2021, with Saskatchewan accounting for another 20%. Alberta statistics show that in 2021, 250 MW of solar power capacity and 358 MW of wind power capacity were added to Alberta’s power grid.
Alberta’s private sector now finds itself with billions of dollars of new capacity being built and on offer. The $250 million Grizzly Bear Creek wind project, which recently received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to expand its capacity, plans to start producing 152 MW by the end of the year. The project, located 160 kilometers north of Edmonton, is Enel Green Power’s fourth in Alberta, bringing its total installed capacity to more than 360 MW.
The newly approved AUC plan reduces the number of turbines from 50 to 34 turbines using larger turbines and newer technology, which will also reduce the site footprint, required access roads and overall electrical support required. (There will be three Vestas V136 turbines and 31 Vestas V150 turbines producing 4.2-4.5 MW). Pennecon Heavy Civil is the contractor responsible for the rest of the plant, according to information provided by Matt Epting, Enel’s public relations and media manager for North America.
In late June, Capstone Infrastructure Corporation subsidiary Wildrose 2 Wind Farm, another new investment, signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Edmonton, the largest of its kind with a city for 78 MG of renewable energy . Wild Rose 2 is also party to a power purchase agreement with Pembina Pipeline Corporation for the extraction of 105 MW of renewable energy over 15 years.
The $260 million Wildrose 2 project will be located 35 km southeast of Medicine Hat. Megan Hunter, media relations manager for Capstone, said via email that an engineering, procurement and construction contractor is being recruited, but no names will be released until the deal is finalized. not finalized, but construction is expected to start later in 2022. “In terms of technology selection and manufacturing, we recently signed a turbine supply agreement with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Inc. to supply 38 SG 5.2-145 turbines for the project and provide long-term operation and maintenance services for the facility,” she said.
Hunter said each turbine has a generating capacity of 5.2 MW, which is far greater than turbines available on the market a decade ago. “This allowed us to significantly reduce the overall footprint and potential impacts of the wind farm without compromising generation capacity,” she said. An earlier design proposed by the former owner of the project included 60 turbines to achieve a generating capacity of 192 MW.
A second Capstone project is Buffalo Atlee Wind Farm, Phases 1-4. Currently under construction, the venture is expected to be operational by December 2022. Once operational, Phases 1-4 of the Buffalo Atlee Wind Farm will have a combined capacity of 58.3MW and will include 13 turbines in total. The farm is located about five kilometers east of the hamlet of Jenner. The cost of the four-phase project is $85 million.
In late June, BluEarth Renewables celebrated the groundbreaking of its 145 MW Hand Hills wind project, which will create 175 jobs during peak construction and inject more than $250 million into the Alberta economy. The project, located northeast of Drumheller, is expected to start in 2023.
“The prime contractor will be Borea,” said Erin Roberts, communications manager for BluEarth Renewables. In total, she said, 29 wind turbines are planned for the site. Borea has built over 6,500 MW of wind power across Canada, including three of the largest projects in the country.
Potentia Renewables Inc. has the $400 million Jenner Wind Project under construction, a three-phase development producing 303 MW with 22 turbines in phase 1, 13 turbines in phase 2 and 20 turbines in phase 3 with a completion date of 2023. The same company also has the $170 million Wheatland County Wind Farm under construction, which has 24 turbines with a capacity of 122.4 MW and is due for completion this year.
TransAlta Renewables has its $195 million Garden Plain wind project under construction with 26 turbines creating 130 MW of electricity with Pembina Pipeline having a purchase agreement for 100 MW over 18 years. The project should be completed this year. The company has another project at the proposal stage, the $105 million, 70 MW Tempest Wind project.
Pattern Energy’s $200 Lanfine North Wind Project, which adds 150 MW to the grid, is also under construction and expected to be completed this year. Greengate Power Corporation’s $170 million, 113 MW Stirling Wind Farm is also expected to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.
The international company EDF Renewables has several projects in the Alberta market. EDF Renewables North America plans to begin construction of its Bull Trail wind farm south of Irvine later this year with an operational date of 2024. Bull Trail consists of 51 towers and turbines that could cumulatively produce 270 megawatts of electricity under peak conditions. An underground collector system would be installed, along with roads and a project-specific substation and connection to nearby AltaLink transmission lines. The project is estimated at $500 million.